Last of the Amazons
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The author of the international bestsellers Gates of Fire and Tides of War delivers his most gripping and imaginative novel of the ancient world–a stunning epic of love and war that breathes life into the grand myth of the ferocious female warrior culture of the Amazons.
Steven Pressfield has gained a passionate worldwide following for his magnificent novels of ancient Greece, Gates of Fire and Tides of War. In Last of the Amazons, Pressfield has surpassed himself, re-creating a vanished world in a brilliant novel that will delight his loyal readers and bring legions more to his singular and powerful restoration of the past.
In the time before Homer, the legendary Theseus, King of Athens (an actual historical figure), set sail on a journey that brought him into the land of tal Kyrte, the “free people,” a nation of proud female warriors whom the Greeks called “Amazons.” The Amazons, bound to each other as lovers as well as fighters, distrusted the Greeks, with their boastful talk of “civilization.” So when the great war queen Antiope fell in love with Theseus and fled with the Greeks, the mighty Amazon nation rose up in rage.
Last of the Amazons is not merely a masterful tale of war and revenge. Pressfield has created a cast of extraordinarily vivid characters, from the unforgettable Selene, whose surrender to the Greeks does nothing to tame her; to her lover, Damon, an Athenian warrior who grows to cherish the wild Amazon ways; to the narrator, Bones, a young girl from a noble family who was nursed by Selene from birth and secretly taught the Amazon way; to the great Theseus, the tragic king; and to Antiope, the noble queen who betrayed tal Kyrte for the love of Theseus.
With astounding immediacy and extraordinary attention to military detail, Pressfield transports readers into the heat and terror of war. Equally impressive is his creation of the Amazon nation, its people, its rituals and myths, its greatness and savagery. Last of the Amazons is thrilling on every page, an epic tale of the clash between wildness and civilization, patriotism and love, man and woman.
From the Hardcover edition.
other vessels to heave-to beyond bowshot. We could see Theama on the strand, swallowed in a sea of savages. Now for the first time Theseus pulled rank. He commanded Atticus to hold the squadron offshore in safety where it lay. Atticus was to land his men under no circumstances, no matter what he heard or saw. The king now commanded the tow skiff brought round. He stripped his weapons and, taking only Damon as interpreter, embarked in the gig and rowed ashore. 44 AN ACT OF STATESMANSHIP
then, reached its consummation. BOOK FOUR THE AMAZON SEA 9 A PRINCE OF ATTICA Mother Bones: The posse under Atticus now embarked from the River of Fire, bound again for the Amazon Sea. All resolved to think no more of return to Athens, but fixed their purpose upon completion of the mission, do or die. Heaven now sent fair weather. The ships glided north before a favoring wind. At Phthia the hero Peleus welcomed the vessels. The horses got grain into their bellies for the
With each increment of daylight receding, fresh companies arrived and made discovery of the holocaust; these too broke down, appending their ululations to the general dirge. Some drove arrow points through the flesh of their palms; others scored their scalps with knives; the blood of grief matted their hair and sheeted down their brows. They carved their horses as well, lancing the flesh and cropping manes and tails. Throughout, such a plaint of lamentation arose as may not be described. Across
burned to “paint their blades” in emulation of their scalp-wealthy comrades. Theseus and his men were packing up fast, to sail home, or at least get quit of Amazonia before the people’s caprice took it in mind to make prizes of them as well. Already bands of mounted warrioresses had taken to running speed drills along the strand where the Greeks’ ships were beached. They built up bonfires, these hotbloods, amid nightlong chanting and agitation, producing such an incendiary atmosphere that the
to whisker. Within the walls we could hear the Athenians working. From the hill we could see them. They were breaking up the residential quarters enclosed by the Half Ring, using the stone to reinforce the wall and to fortify positions within. Theseus was keeping them busy. For our part, we had dammed the Ilissus, the Cephisus, and the Eridanos. Cisterns had been founded to contain the flow of these miserable streams. In the exhilaration of the initial overrunning of Attica, our companies had